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Sled Driver: Flying the World's Fastest Jet
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Sled Driver: Flying the World's Fastest Jet

4.32 of 5 stars 4.32  ·  rating details  ·  188 ratings  ·  35 reviews
No aircraft ever captured the curiosity & fascination of the public like the SR-71 Blackbird. Nicknamed "The Sled" by those few who flew it, the aircraft was shrouded in secrecy from its inception. Entering the U.S. Air Force inventory in 1966, the SR-71 was the fastest, highest flying jet aircraft in the world. Now for the first time, a Blackbird pilot shares his uniq ...more
Hardcover, 151 pages
Published December 31st 1991 by Mach 1
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Nick Bennett
Limited printing by the author so most books sell for upwards of $300. Found a .pdf copy online after some digging, and it was well worth my time.

Excellent "you are there" photography, with well-written supporting text. SR-71's (or "Sleds" as the author calls them) sound like a hell of a lot of fun to fly, and as privileged an experience as being an astronaut. Not far off, actually.

Aug 28, 2013 Kev rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Kev by: Smithsonian Air & Space Mag Review
I met Brian at Edwards AFB Open House airshow in October, 1999. As we were chatting Chuck Yeager was cruising 30,000 ft. over our heads in an F4 Phantom doing a supersonic flyby.

How is cool is that?

Most of the photos are Brain's & they're beautiful. This is the definitive photo album of the SR71. Brian takes us through his career & his choice to step up to the challenge to become a member of a very select few whose intelligence, training & talent are brought to bear in piloting the f
Richard Mcdermott
Unbelievable read. Some of the photos taken by the author from a claustrophobically cramped cockpit - through 4 inches of armored glass, capable of withstanding the friction heat from travelling at faster than 2,000 mph at 80,000+ feet altitiude - are astounding. Only 32 of these engineering marvels were built and only 152 pilots ever drove the Sled. One of them, an SR71-B is housed in the air museum in Kalamazoo. You can walk up to it and touch it. I read the book once, then read it again the n ...more
Joseph Simmons
The Blackbird is a beautifully moving piece of technology. I like to think of myself as a technology person, but really that just means computers. The SR-71 first flew in 1964, so it doesn't have much impressive in the way of computers.

But in 1976 it flew faster than anyone has before in a jet. And since 1976, no one has taken a jet faster than a Blackbird has. This machine, which was conceived in the 1950s, is still without a rival.

It flew fast & high because it was a spy evading its enemie
Sled driver is about flying the SR71 Blackbird. The world's fastest jet.

This is an amazingly compelling read. It is like waking up one morning and suddenly finding you can read a new language... you devour it, even if you don't necessarily have a frame of reference to put it in.

Miss a turn by a second or two, and you are in a completely different state.


Flying more than a thousand miles an hour.


The numbers they banter about in this book are simply incomprehensible, but the anecd
Borrowed this through Inter Library Loan (known in my area as MOBIUS). This is not a book you're likely to find lying around, as it was printed/distributed in limited quantities.

If you have any interest in the SR-71 and what it's like to fly it, get your hands on this book. It's light reading. About half the pages are images of the plane and various scenery shot from the plane.

While the textual content was light, it wasn't fluff. Did you know that flying with a 25,000 foot-altitude-cabin can res
Kerry Kenney
Feb 12, 2014 Kerry Kenney marked it as to-read
Shelves: memoirs
after reading Skunkworks and Failure is Not an Option and this fabulous excerpt that circulated online (you can download the pdf for free here:

The excerpt I read is here:
This book gets five stars just for the incredible discipline and skill necessary to fly this airplane. Out of print, so far as I know? Find a copy, if you have any interest in aviation. Major Shul, hats off and a sincere salute to you, from a far less talented, less accomplished airman.
Wassim Maadadi
Absolutely amazing book, i never read a book before from start to finish, and i honestly thought i never will do due to my short attention span, but with this book..i just couldn't stop reading, it's extremely interesting, and i never got bored, reading page after page doing for the first time something i thought i would never do, enjoy a book

The stories are well written so everything is "connected" smoothly,you always wanna read the next part, the photos are breathtaking, the description of wha
Kamas Kirian
The photography is wonderful. Seeing the plane in flight, and the views available to the pilot, is like nothing else. The story of what it's like to fly this magnificent jet is also compelling. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the SR-71.
Karla Goodhouse
This book gives an awesome description of what it is like to fly the world's fastest air-breathing jet - the SR-71 Blackbird. It is well written and the pictures are amazing.
Firsthand account of what it was like to pilot the world's most jaw-dropping astonishing ahead of its time aircraft. My copy is autographed, so it's a veritable treasure.
My favourite book of all time
If you're looking at this book, the first thing you will notice is that it trades for hundreds of dollars on and is out of print. It is difficult to find a copy "just to read".

I managed to do so, and my first comment is that it is not worth $400.

That's not to say it isn't good. Look up there, I rated it four stars. I obviously liked it. Since I liked it so much, I'll start with what is wrong with it and why it didn't get five stars.

The biggest problem is that Brian Shul is not a wr
Brian Shul points out multiple times in this short book that those who never flew the Blackbird will never know what it was like. After reading his book, I'm inclined to agree with him. I wish he had done a bit more to relate the experience to those of us who aren't one of the 152 people who ever flew the plane, but unfortunately it never did it for me.
Have you ever wondered what it was like to be in control of one of the world's most recognised and enigmatic aircraft - The SR-71 Blackbird???

Being of the Star Wars generation, this aircraft captivated my imagination from the moment I saw photographs of it, to seeing it in real life at the Reno Air Races with my father at 16, then as an aircraft engineer the technology (ancient by today's standards) captivated me.
But, other than Flight Simulator software I had no idea what it was like to fly one
My favorite of all airplane books! If you want detailed technical info go elsewhere but if you want the pilot's perspective this is the go-to volume. Shul's writing and photography are exceptional. Sled Driver Has a permanent home on my shelf.
good but short, I liked Skunk Works much better. It got into the technical issues that came up while engineering and building the SR71 and its predecessors
Great read and great photography. Considered by some to be the best book on what it was like flying the SR-71 Blackbird. If you are a pilot, aviator or love airplanes this is a great book; not at all melodramatic nor dry and technical.
Jun 29, 2008 Dale rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone interested in aviation or "speed"
Recommended to Dale by: Internet search
This was an amazing account of all aspects of flying the SR-71, the fastest jet aircraft, written by one of it's pilots. Brian Shul takes you from his many hours in the simulator to his first flight, to refueling in the air and taking on 11,000 gallons of JP7 (70,000 lbs) and on to flying 80,000 feet at 2000 MPH. The SR-71 was retired in 1990 but still holds many speed and altitude records. I thought it was interesting that one of the SR-71s set 4 new continental speed records on its way to reti ...more
Prayush Khadka
finished this book in about 4 hours. it was great read and very informative too for those who are interested in aviation.
John Bignell
Lots of great images and interesting stories from a pilot's career. Couldn't put this book down and finished it in an evening.
Mark Veira
A wonderful book, that flowed as quickly and as smoothly as the SR-71 must have done itself.

Provided very interesting insight into the details of and day-to-day activities surrounding piloting the plane. Very cool.
Christopher Brennan
Fun book by one of the 154 pilots to fly the SR-71 during its lifetime.
Ray Duran
I thought I loved this plane before. Now I'm at a loss for words. So cool.
Srecko Ristic
SR-71 is magnificent machine capable of astonishing things. Author is giving inside view into "driving the sled", or better to say - taming the beast. Just fact that you need to refuel it with one afterburner lit up is more than scary. Whole story of plane was very impressive but it is diminished by story of Brian Shul. What a story! And you just get wrap your head around Brian the pilot and Brian the photographer appears. If you are into planes, photography and memoirs like me it is must to rea ...more
Philip Paul
enjoyed it. got the ebook.
Awesome book, it is a shame it is so difficult to track down a hard copy (which were ranging from $400 used, to over $1,000 new) However, with a little google-fu its not too hard to find a free .pdf/.epub download. The descriptive writing style the author/pilot uses is just beautiful, even more-so than the breathtaking pictures.
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